Division Shows in Multiple Poles
An Emerson College poll put Trump’s support at 62 percent compared with 16 percent for DeSantis.
A Morning Consult poll shows Trump leading DeSantis by 37 points despite the indictment against Trump, other pending criminal investigations, and the E. Jean Carroll civil lawsuit. Trump registered 58 percent while DeSantis had 21 percent.
Trump’s polling on the Real Clear Politics Average has improved since March 30 when Trump led DeSantis by 45.9 percent to 30.1 percent. The gap has widened the average: 51.3 percent to 23 percent.
Support Massing Behind Trump
This suggests that Republican voters are circling the wagons around Trump even as he comes under increasing attacks from prosecutors and litigators who his supporters believe are targeting him for political purposes.
Some supporters have taken to Twitter to criticize writer E. Jean Carroll for waiting 30 years to sue him, wondering why she had not before he got into politics.
“I don’t mean to be insensitive but why do women like E. Jean Carroll wait more than 30 years to file claims of sexual assault/harassment against people of power or fame ? She can’t give a date or year because if she did Trump may have proof of not being in the state,” a Trump supporter who identified himself as “Kris” tweeted.
Trump Begins Anti-DeSantis Campaign
Trump has taunted DeSantis, urging him not to get into the 2024 presidential race.
“I believe that if he decides to run for President, which will only hurt and somewhat divide the Republican Party, he will lose the cherished and massive MAGA vote, and never be able to successfully run for office again,’ the former president continued,” Trump said at a recent campaign rally.
“If he remains Governor, which is what Florida voters assumed, it would be a whole different story … JUST SAYIN’ ― But who knows?”
The Florida governor reportedly is waiting for the state legislature to repeal the state’s Resign to Run Law before declaring his candidacy, which some say could happen as soon as May.
DeSantis, however, has a few bright spots in his yet-to-be formally announced campaign such as in Utah. He won that state’s GOP straw poll. He took part as the keynote speaker at that state’s party convention.
“Too many Republicans are worried that if you stand strong, that the left will attack you or the media will attack you,” he said at the convention. “Of course, they’re going to attack you. If they’re not attacking me … I must not be doing my job, right?”
The governor appears poised to enter the race formally. His polling has sagged amid Trump’s blistering attacks against him and his surrogates framing him as an establishment candidate.
Could Positions Change When Ron DeSantis Announces?
It remains to be seen how the two will fare once the campaign begins. Trump has signaled an unwillingness to debate DeSantis, which could signal that the former president feels vulnerable against the governor’s pugilistic style of debate.
DeSantis consistently does better in trial heats against President Joe Biden than Trump in polls. He wins. Trump loses.
Some of DeSantis’ donors have suggested that he wait until 2028.
Right now, 10 months separate Trump and DeSantis from facing off in the Republican primary season. A lot can happen in polls between now and then. DeSantis remains unknown among many Republicans across the country, and Trump has a strong following.
His best chance for victory will be building dissonance between Trump’s words and his actions as president. Ron DeSantis would need to raise questions in voters’ minds about whether or not a second Trump term would be different from the first when he showed an inability to manage the Executive Branch, which subverted him at every turn.
“If you’re Ron DeSantis, you’re not going to moderate anything when it comes to independents,” Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill. “But you might take a page out of Glenn Youngkin’s book. It’s how you talk about it.”
If Trump’s base remains behind him and DeSantis cannot improve in the polls, he should consider 2028.
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award in 2008 for his reporting.